Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Super Activist Powers...Activate!

I have been imbued with a deep, unrelenting, powerful dislike for Obama and his policies...his party's policies. I have little love for some of McCain's actions, but not nearly so rabid. (Truth be told I'm voting largely against two-party lines.) As a result, you can count on seeing me in some kind of volunteer role, some activist role in promoting something very different than the actions and views of Obama and his party.

Sunday night we received a call from our day care 12 hours before our kids should have been dropped off there. It was the owner letting us know that the day care was closing down. The reason: they were hit by huge taxes handed down from their large-company (highly taxed under Obama's "plan") subletter that they couldn't pay and were denied credit due to credit crunch created by Obama's party's insistence that people that can't afford homes be given loans to get homes. So now we're having to bring our kids to a more expensive, less secure, and more distant day care.

Oh, wait. It wasn't the Democrats that caused the banking problems?

...and Obama only wants to help the "little guy" by taxing the larger companies ($250,000 earnings or more). Clearly this will help the little guy, right? See above! Little guy getting shafted here! (Let alone the obvious fact that companies are already looking to move their companies into states and countries with less tax. What do you think would happen when they're taxed more?)

I forget...Obama and his supporters are not for the trickle-down effect? Which party was the prime supporter of the "bail out(s)?" What was the model here? To give money to those above the little guy in hopes that it will start money trickling down from above. Trickling...down. Hypocrisy!

Let's consider, now, how the definition of "rich" keeps sinking lower and lower. Under the latest numbers, I would be considered rich and therefore subject to more taxes--you know, because those who aren't making a lot of money must get more money forced from me and forced into their hands. I give money and goods. Make me feel like I'm being forced to give and there's no reason for me to continue giving...aside from conscience and feeling that I'm in control of where it goes. But since I can't be trusted with where and to whom I give my money, I guess it's good enough that I'm forced to give it to all-knowing, altruistic, wonderful, god-like Obama.

I have no illusions about the size of my drop in the bucket. But it is something. And it is directly opposing the domination of Obama. Hmm...the Obamination?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Of Giant Hogs

Watching Monster Quest, in search of the Giant Hog, in their attempts at attaching a camera to a normal hog, or "the Trojan Hog."

"Tonight, on Fox...When Pigs Go Wild! They'll find the normal hog bringing food offerings to a giant hog sitting on a throne, her name: Miss Piggy."

"And the prince consort a giant frog."

"She has piglets attached like little piggy pasties...tassels attached to their tails, spinning, 'wee, wee, wee!'"

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blind-Stupid Voters

Obama's winning because he's got more money and because he's got the most charisma. That's it. Well, and because the average voter sure seems to be stupid.

Everyone says that the economy is the number one concern. And because the economy is sucking wind under Republican "rule", clearly we need to go Democrat. That's moronic. A voter need only do some research behind the sub-prime mortgage debacle as well as a few other things to realize that most--if not all--of the current "crisis" was caused by philosophies and pushes of the Democrat party. In just a few days we're turning the entire country over to the very same people that would see the country destroyed by their short-sighted, weak-hearted policies. Wouldn't be so bad if the voters' blindness didn't hit all branches of the government.

Ah, well. Live, learn, and hopefully recover.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Of Heaven And Hell Epilogue

As my baby boy looks at me stands on strong legs, pounding the coffee table top with powerful smacks, looking up at me with the healthy grin of a showoff showing his dad his new skillz, I am thrust into the other end of the spectrum of family life. Before when he was ill, looking plaintively at me through tear-filled eyes it was the worst hell. Now is the best of heaven.

I can't wait for the teenage years for each of my kids. I can accept that the heaven-hell cycle of daily life with kids can be applied larger-scale to their moving through the cycle of adulthood. I know it'll be hell. But right now...and after their teenage state...I can only enjoy it. (And really, as a warrior, I plan on enjoying even hell.)

Pray Your Supported Public Servant Doesn't Get Elected!

The reason we vote is the same reason we contribute money to our favorite public official. We vote in hopes that the one we're voting for gets elected, and we contribute for the same reason. And we do this so that the policies the would-be official espouses can be enacted and we, by extension, get the policies we support. And we do this so we can take advantage of the policies--exercise our new-found freedoms, as it were.

So, when this [expletive] sheriff Hutchens and the trolls of the Register insinuate in this article that the reason that the previous sheriff, Carona, gave CCW permits as a "kick-back" to his campaign contributors...well, let's just say that I really hope they have their facts straight. Otherwise they might just look like freedom-infringing trolls and [expletive]s that care nothing for the democratic process (since they've already proven their views on the Second Amendment).

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Nuclear Energy is NOT CLEAN

Let's consider for a moment the fact that when one burns oil, when one burns coal, when one burns anything there is a waste product that is emitted. As we attempt to "create" or "discover" cleaner sources of energy, how can we seriously consider the use of nuclear energy? If our use of fossil fuels really is causing global warming (and honestly, I don't care; I do care about what I and my kids are breathing) and we suddenly "discover" a new, cleaner way to feed our ravenous energy appetite, the earth will recover in, say, 100 years. We use nuclear energy, we have wastelands (so-named because it's where we store nuclear waste, and because those regions become uninhabitable in every way) that will remain wastelands for thousands of years.

Now energy storage...that's another problem. We have clean, safe, friendly (oh, and I must use the fad catch-word of the year--GREEN) energy from the wind and sun...being stored in toxic batteries. Well, at least the batteries can be recycled...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Of Heaven and Hell

I've always said that having kids has been the worst hell and the best heaven in my entire existence. Right now, it's the former.

That is not to suggest that it's the actual child that's causing the hell, so much as my intense and equally impotent desire to lift any weight, destroy any life, run any distance, do anything to help my wailing 6-month-old feel better.

Mortality sucks.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Good Speeches, Questionable Content

Well, I'm sold. I now know for sure who I'm voting for. Not that there was much question. But the decision has finally been made beyond that proverbial shadowy doubt. But that's not to say I don't have my complaints.

Palin was charismatic, sharp and clear. I loved it all. ...except for the jabs. At least her insults were often couched. But Giuliani's cuts...wow. I almost turned it off. Nasty, nasty, nasty.

I believe it was Mitt who attempted to once again equate the war in Iraq with al Qaeda and the Taliban. It wasn't said explicitly, but it was implied. Are we still perceived as that stupid?

Then there were all the jabs and pokes at Obama's expense from McCain. I was inspired and attentive with everything he had to say up until he started with the insults. At one point, I had things I needed to do but I was riveted by his speech. I decided to wait to do my chores until McCain's speech turned to the jabs and check back later for some more pertinent conten. Let's just say I got everything done I needed to do.

As with every presidential candidate he made promises that he can't really do much about. As with other candidates he showed he was an advocate for things I disagree with. E.g. too much emphasis was put on drilling for oil and nuclear power--oh, and maybe we'll look into alternative forms of energy. If drilling is an interim solution, say it and put the stress on the "interim" part. And using nuclear energy as an interim? Please. Giving terrorists more opportunity to control us and harm us; giving ourselves more need to endanger our health with nuclear waste; putting up permanent nuclear facilities as an "interim" solution. Who're we kidding? Let's not do the nuclear option (as if McCain or Obama have absolute control over it). But the point is, don't assure us of how things will be just because you're in office. We all know it's total conjecture.

Touching speeches about veterans and armed services personnel were given and received with a lump in the throat and a tear in the eye. That and the admission of responsibility for the Republican Party's corruption did it for me. It's about time someone admitted something in politics! Oh, and the intimation that it's about the country and the individual citizen and not about the puppies and bunnies. That was good, too.

Pretty Boy or Old Grouch. Someone's proven his worth and integrity. Maybe Obama will, but now's not the time.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

So Many Retractions....

Alright, so I have a few corrections to make regarding previous posts. Most recent--last night's--first: let me be clear that I was making an attempt at being tongue-in-cheek. We all know that we do things to have fun and do things outside our daily grind because they're fun and because they're outside our daily grind. Since everything has a price and because I'm still paying for the fun of the weekend and since it's in our nature to complain about the pain of paying the price for anything, the grumbling nature of the post seems to be more accentuated than intended. I had a good time! I'd do it again! (And please don't let my wife beat me for that post!)

Next retraction is regarding the Pero miracle cure post: I seem to have posted too quickly and without regard to another habit I had formed prior to the posting: placing a pinch of crushed barley under my tongue several times throughout the day. I had stopped that practice a couple weeks before I picked up the Pero habit. Now, given the tiny little tumors popping up on my hands again, it's time to restart the barley-chaw habit again. But don't expect me to give up the Pero. It's not as tasty as coffee, but has fewer side-effects...even the good ones, apparently.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Survivalist Guilt

Everyone knows about that strange psychological affliction survivors of traumatic events get called "Survivor's Guilt." I think I've discovered a new disease: Survivalist Guilt.

This morning at 11:30 I and my family returned home from a most...educational camping trip. First allow me to describe the events of the camping trip in some broad strokes.

Out of curiosity and because I love the convenience of the tools at hand, I decided to check the weather at the location of our annual camping trip. Saturday warm and clear. Sunday rain and cold. Monday more rain and more cold. We were getting up there on Saturday morning and planning on returning Monday.

I informed everyone (my wife's brother and his family) of my weather forecast findings. My wife had a very good point about my not exercising sufficient faith to prevent the weather from turning bad, but that's another post for another time.

Saturday was indeed nice. Kids went swimming in the nearby lake, excellent conversation with good friends, fun kayaking on the lake, some firearm practice (remarkably vindicating!), the scent of campfire and the twinge of mosquito bites. Sunday evening, Sunday night, Monday morning...not so nice. Rain, hail, more rain, and a bit more rain.

Turns out the warning on our tent's instruction manual was correct: under steady barrage of water, tent may leak. We awoke--or rather arose, considering no one slept all that much except the youngest ones--to quite the sodden mess. Wet bedding, soaked clothing, drenched campsite and one water-damaged book on loan from a good friend (the greater tragedy). And the greatest tragedy: my kids are all coming down with various ailments. One's coughing, one's complaining about a headache--which, incidentally, we dismissed yesterday as her fault for having eaten so much junk food and not drinking enough water, and now my head is pounding so hard it feel like my eyeballs are about to be crushed from the inside. Gotta love karma. Or poetic justice. Or the ignorant presuppositions of know-it-all parents dismissing a kid's concerns as childish and beneath notice.

The majority of Monday was spent packing up dripping camp gear in such a way as to minimize water-damaging our family vehicle, setting that same gear back up again, drying it off, tearing it back down and finally putting it away in the garage until the next occasion. The holiday effectively burned away with exhausting, unpleasant activities.

As I washed the stink of 3 days' sweat, campfire and mud off my body a few minutes ago I asked the question of myself again, as I often do after most camping trips. "Why do we do this again?" The trite answer is, "Because it's fun!" Come on. What about the above sounded fun? Well, except for swimming, kayaking and conversing--but even those are proving to have consequences that are difficult to qualify as "pleasant." The answer came unbidden: "Because we like to be reminded of how good we have it."

Of course that was not a satisfactory answer, considering that not many of us go around crushing our thumbs with hammers because it makes us more grateful for when all our digits are operating under factory specifications. That left the only other explanation I could dredge up: we do it because we feel guilty for our easy, mundane, catered, technologically-enhanced lives--lives that our ancestors were not able to enjoy because they lacked the tools and opportunities we have because they were too busy with the day-to-day tasks of surviving.

Given the amount of time we spent in attempts at mitigating the consequences of our communion with a Mother Nature who seems to revel in proving who the boss is, it's a fair wonder we're as advanced as we are. And thank God we are! Now time to go rest up from the rest and nurse everyone back to the health robbed from them by our rest and healing time.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lessons From the Infant

Today, the family and I were out shopping at one of those giant stores that sell giant amounts of goods for giant prices--but which are smaller than they would be should the shopper buy the same amount of goods elsewhere and in not so giant volumes. The kids were hungry and getting quite rambunctious...probably because they were hungry. We stopped at the section of the store that has been set aside for serving pizza, shakes, and other delicious, deadly snacks.

I had the wee one in my arms, so my wife took care of ordering, buying, and drink filling. She placed a giant, fizzing cup of Mr. Pibb on the table in front of me and the wee one. She even brought over the Polish Dog and Sauerkraut. As she was asking me how much sauerkraut I wanted, the baby in my arms pulled the Mr. Pibb over into our laps.

Instantly my programming kicked in. You know, the error-filled, buggy programming that we get by watching others. "Well, Dad just got stuff spilled all over him and now he's pissed. Noted." The programming was accessing all the expected Sense-DoS nodes, prepping to flood the body with chemicals associated with anger and frustration. Then the boy in my lap started crying a pitiable cry of fear and confusion as his sensors and processes were overwhelmed by a sudden lap-full of ice-cold...something! The program runtime ended as though someone had tripped the breaker, kicked the power cord and nuked the electric grid (from orbit, of course) all at the same time. Suddenly I saw the situation for what it was: hilarious. The viral program had terminated unexpectedly and quite completely, and the system was better for it in every way.

New program running: "Something has happened. Something that means nothing. Ignore all previous programming and choose how to respond in the moment. Default response: laughter."

Golden Tripe

Watching Obama's acceptance speech, and being moved, I shook loose the shackles of his mesmerizing words and realized we were once again being sold a plate full of tripe.

Sure, the desires weren't tripe, but they were indeed trite, and the reverberations of the suggested solutions will ring throughout the nation for decades.

The trite: everyone should be treated fairly and with equality. We should help the down trodden. We should honor the families of troops. All families who have overcome difficulties should have respect (as should those who have not yet overcome difficulties and still giving it their all).

Who wouldn't buy into those noble goals? Who wouldn't want that? And who wouldn't love fluffy puppies and bunnies?

The tripe: consider the party's solution for making all those things happen. Consider the cost! And consider where those resources will be coming from. Us. Everyone. As it should be! The difference is that we should not all be coerced into doing the right thing through higher taxes and other benefits being ripped from our grasps through federal threats and bullying. We should simply do it because it's the right thing to do.

Petting puppies, loving bunnies and feeding poor, injured birds...everyone would love that until someone tells us that we must do it. Then it's not so fun anymore.

More tripe: pretty much every campaign promise made in the speech. Why's Obama think that the power of the Executive Branch can completely bypass and ignore the other Branches' powers and responsibilities? The president doesn't make the economy. The president doesn't control investments into alternative energy sources, etc. The president can certainly make strong suggestions and exercise influence over those who can help make the decisions. But to boldly state that the he will be solely responsible for the happiness of the puppies and bunnies is delusional and manipulative.

Now, as for McCain's choice for VP: nicely played. I just wish Palin hadn't already played the gender card...or at least not played it so openly. At least she could've played it a little more surreptitiously like Obama's been playing the race card.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Look In a Mirrors

I just got back from watching the Mirrors movie. As always, I learned something new about me. Or more accurately, I confirmed something I had suspected about myself. It's all about the innocent.

As I watched the movie, I jumped at all the right places, cringed at all the appropriate gory parts. I even got a little misty at the more touching parts. Through it all, I felt this overtone of tension and fear that any Suspense/Thriller/Horror movie is supposed to evoke. That is until a child was injured. Then there was nothing but rage.

As I watch movies I tend to really put myself in the protagonists' positions. "What would I do if it were me?" It really makes for an intense movie experience. Throughout Mirrors, there was quite a bit that I would not have done that the protagonists did, but as I projected myself into their situations, there was that overtone of fear that I mentioned earlier. And when the child was injured, all fear evaporated. There was only rage--the deadly, intense, focused determination to destroy--to annihilate--any and all things related to that which harmed the child. Mugger, psycho, demon, devil...all will quail and fall in the chaotic glow of my righteous, indignant wrath. Can't kill a demon? Watch me. Impossible to slay a devil? Tell that to its screaming, writhing, sulfurous body just before it's thrust back into the bowels of Hell.

I know, I know. It's only a movie. But hey, you can still learn something real about yourself, even if the teacher is a fantasy. Lesson: my paternal instinct is way out of control. And it's not something I'm likely to change. Because I don't want to. Because I'm right.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

An Education from the Past

With all due respect and gratitude to the class presidency...I just got home from my 20 year high school reunion. As you may know from my twitter account I'm clearly not one that felt or feels a need to hold onto the past. You would probably quite correctly guess that I was one of those kids that sat back with arms folded in pep rallies and assemblies, desperately wishing the event would end so they could get back to class and get the day over with. Often I sat back in the cafeteria and watched all the popular kids interacting and getting all involved in everything high school. I was invisible. Oh sure I'd interact whenever someone talked to me, but really, when did that ever happen? I never fit in. I had lots of acquaintances...very few friends. And I was alright with that.

Back to the reunion... One person talked with me, one of the "geeks" of the school. I always liked John. Not that I ever talked with him much. We exchanged the pleasantries, the gratuitous, "What're you doing now?" and we went our separate ways.

My wife and I sat at the far table with our backs to the wall, so we could watch everyone. No one talked with us. Of course we never gave them the chance. I felt uncomfortable staring at the yearbook badges we were wearing for fear of unintended insult ("What, I've changed that much!?"), and by doing so I may spark a conversation with someone I never really cared to converse with. Anyway, after a walk down memory lane led by the class president and a speech from a prestigious teacher, we invisibly sneaked out and drove home.

On the way home I shared with my wife something that came as a shock to me. I finally--finally--after 20 years understood what "school spirit" meant.

I told her I had always equated "school spirit" with "class spirit." I was never any good at making or keeping friends, so what did I care about my class? In my mind, the Class of '88 was a bunch of the cool, social kids that cared entirely too much about what was going on for a mere four years of their lives. Me? I just wanted to be left alone to do my school work, go home, and watch some cartoons...maybe play a video game and work on my computer. The occasional date was nice, too (though to be honest, those rarely came, considering I was quite obviously a rather socially backward wall flower). The future would take care of itself, much like the present does, so don't get too caught up in any of it.

We get education from the strangest places, and imagine the irony that I got it from a teacher! ...Keeping in mind this was at my 20-year reunion. Mr. Crump talked a bit about the fact that our high school was going to be celebrating its 100th year of service soon. He invited us all to join its year-long celebration. I considered going! Me! The one who couldn't care less about school spirit! That is when the distinction became very clear. School spirit is about the institution; it's about the faculty, the staff, and perhaps your friends through whose care you pass during those fleeting four years. It's not about how much bonding you do with your classmates...though that can help. It's about the legacy your brief stint creates for future alumni to appreciate and contribute to. It's about appreciating the legacy your predecessors and the current staff added to the virtual blink of an eye you are there.

My wife said, "Yeah, when they built that high school near our house, I was bummed that our kids wouldn't be able to go to our high school."

That's exactly how I felt when I learned a new high school was being built nearer us than our old high school. When I realized I felt that way a few years ago, I questioned it. Why would I feel that way? What do I care about people that I really didn't care about? What do I care about where my kids have pep rallies and social awkwardness? Tonight it came clear. Because there is, was, and always will be a little, tiny (albeit invisible) piece of me in that old high school. There will always be a love for that place, the faculty, and now new-found respect for the class presidency...and maybe even for those "flighty social butterflies" that got it long before I did.

Oh, and when you go to your next reunion, a little note from those who know: talk to those on whom you had a crush--even if you're with your spouse--or you'll regret it. Loose ends always need tying up.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Crazy Kids--As It Should Be

I recently received that email about the kid getting stolen and found in the restroom with the head 1/2 shaved and a disguise kit lying on the floor. As with just about every email I receive, I looked it up in snopes. Sho' nuff, it's fake. But it still got me thinking. Given my kids' vocal strengths, and finally the okay to go ape-poop in every way, their would-be kidnappers would have their hands full...deafened, injured and otherwise embarrassed from unwanted attention. Finally...someone else gets to share in my every-day joy.

What do we tell our children? "If a bully is picking on you, just ignore him." Okay, if a mugger is threatening to cut you, just ignore him. "If a bully is picking on you, tell a teacher." Right, and if you're being chased down a dark alley, scream into the night. I'm sure you'll be fine. See where this is going?

Now, what have you told your kids about if someone is trying to steal them? "Run the other direction!" That's good, unless they run into another, worse situation. Tell them WHERE to run. "Fight back." There's a good one! Finally! Now they know what to do! But wait...what's "fight back"? Have you defined for them what "fight back" means? As may not come as a surprise...I have. "If someone is trying to steal you, you scream, kick, bite, scratch, elbow, knee, head butt, pull hair...and all in as sensitive parts as possible."

Be warned: my kids have gotten the okay to fight back. And when I say "fight back" I mean go absolutely nuts in attempts to drop the bad guy and get away. As it should be. Tonight's practice session should be fun. Incentive to check the integrity of my sparring gear....

"Out-terrorize the Terrorist"

What's the best way to cure a bully? Totally disrupt your way of life to avoid him? That can work for a while. Tell the teacher? That's only temporary--and often causes an escalation of bullying. One way to cure a bully: trounce him.

You don't have to like it, but when all other avenues fail, you're left with one last path. So if you're going to walk it, walk it with gusto. Not the most ideal of situations, but if someone is harming you (intending to harm, threatening harm, etc.) he has placed himself in exactly the same situation that he put you in. He reaches for you, you strike his arm and hurt it. He pulls a gun to threaten you, you pull yours and fire it.

When the 1000 years of peace finally magically take hold on the world, we won't have to worry about such things. Until then, bully, mugger, rapist, murderer--they're all the same. And when they put themselves in that role, they put themselves in a dangerous situation. Make them proud of how much better you can play their part until the situation's over. Then change roles; go home, love your family and friends and live a stress-free life.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blind Bleeding the Blind: Bigots Rule!

I love politics. It's like a second religion for me. Like my other "religions" I know too little about them, but I still enjoy looking for and finding patterns and contradictions. Take for example the current presidential race between Barak Obama and John McCain. Thanks to the candidates' ethnicities, the racists are making themselves known quite distinctly--they're coming out of the woodwork! The problem is, they're invisible. They're cloaked in the invisibility of socially acceptable behavior.

You see, it's perfectly acceptable to denigrate and insult one race and not another. Racial slurs are acceptable, humorous and--best of all--deserved! The promotion of one race above another is lauded and loved in the government, in social circles and in communities. One can create an entire stand-up routine based solely on race. I've seen them. They're hilarous. I must have been in the right crowd because not one person got up and screamed in defiance and outrage that the jokes were inappropriate and racist. The comedians weren't humiliated nor were they virtually burned at the stake in the media following the show. In fact, they're now quite rich and famous.

That's all well and good until politics enters into it. I heard on the radio this morning that it was going to be impossible for one candidate to swing the votes of an entire group of people because the other candidate was of a particular race. I read in the news that a particular group of people that hold political views diametrically opposed to a particular candidate are having a difficult time deciding on who to vote for because of the race of that candidate. Race. Not policy. Race. Policy be damned.

Now, consider for a moment that I have not once brought up who is of what race and who is making what jokes, and who is making what decision based on race. And yet...we all know and are uncomfortable in commenting on it. The act of voicing such observations has been repressed. And while everyone notices, everyone turns a blind eye.

Racism has truly blinded us all. We truly are color blind.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Enjoy the Enjoyable

Having grown up in Utah; having it made very clear that most humor is too negative or offensive or [insert reason to not enjoy life here]; wanting to pretend I was destined for high(er) society; whatever the reason, as I reached adulthood, I no longer allowed myself to enjoy--truly enjoy--the myriad jokes and senses of humor out there.

Watching funny movies would sometimes evoke a smile. A very funny movie, a chuckle. One evening, well into my young adulthood, I sat in a theater waiting for the latest comedy to start. I cast my mind back to all the other comedies I had watched in the recent past. All those movies I had sat chuckling quietly while the audience roared in laughter. I thought of the Def Comedy Jam--and other such stand-up comedy events--I noticed the audience practically throwing themselves out of their chairs in completely unrestrained gales of laughter. Sitting there, in the darkening theater I made the conscious decision to enjoy the upcoming movie; I decided to laugh out loud, to loosen whatever hold on my sense of humor my years of bad habits and erroneous beliefs had tied.

I've never enjoyed a comedy more.

Since then, I have heard quite a few statements about having a sense of humor. Some warm, some fuzzy, some sticky sweet. And some, just plain cool. From "You are never truly defeated so long as you can laugh" to "Time + Tragedy = Humor."

Don't get me wrong. I don't expect anyone to enjoy everything. That would cheapen...well...everything. I'm talking about lightening up. Enjoying the enjoyable. Unrestrained. If you enjoy, enjoy it! Enough of the fear of looking foolish as you nearly pee yourself from laughter. Look at the painting in slack-jawed (albeit unbecoming a prude) wonder. Let that tear run down your cheek as you listen to your favorite score. Stand up and cheer for the opposing team when they make that perfect play.

After that movie, after making that decision to free myself, it is easier for me to see that there is a bit of humor in just about everything. People tell me I have no sense of humor because I laugh at slapstick, puns, potty, dry, and/or cutting jokes; I hear I have no taste because I see the beauty even in the ugly. And through it all, whenever someone comments on my lack of refined taste...I just laugh.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Pero: The Hidden Cure

All growing up I had friends who had problems with warts. You know, good ol' human papillomavirus. I thanked my lucky stars that I never had problems with them. Stupid lucky stars.

Warts all over the hands, growing bigger and bigger, their sight causing embarrassment and their contagion causing concern for others. There were times my wife would ask why I don't touch her. "Well, because I don't want to infect you with these bloody warts."

I burned them off. More would grow. Some grew so deep into the pads of my fingers it felt like I had a rock deep in my skin. I froze them off. Things looked good...for about a year and then more of the little buggers would appear. Duct tape, grapefruit seed extract, mojo, voodoo...nothing would get rid--and keep rid--of the little white devils.

I went to a practitioner of Chinese herbology and acupuncture. He suggested I eat a handful of boiled barley a day. Barley? Well, whatever. I've tried everything else.

In less than a month, every wart on my hands had shrunken or fallen off.

And like every other moron creating anti-biotic-resistant microbes, I stopped eating the barley too soon. They came back.

I was out of the habit of boiling the barley and eating it--so bloody inconvenient. I would boil up a mess of it, and it would rot in the fridge. Or I would boil it, forget it was on the burner and nearly burn down the house. Not very effective. But effective enough that I didn't have to deal with them for a year or so.

About a year ago, I notice little HPV tumors raising their hateful little heads all over my hands. They start as tiny innocuous bumps and grow and grow and grow. And from the numbers, it was going to be quite a crop.

I've recently taken to drinking a coffee substitute. Needless to say I've taken no end of flak from coffee lovers and coffer haters alike. (You can imagine how much their opinions effected me as I made it a point to enjoy at least one cup of Pero every morning.) What does this have to do with warts? Well, what does barley have to do with warts?? That's what I want to know! Not that it matters. What matters is it works.

You see, I enjoy this Pero. And Pero is made out of malted barley, barley, chicory and rye. You know all those pre-wart bumps? Gone. And I've only been drinking this stuff for just under a month. I think this time I'll thumb my wart-free nose at my friends and just continue drinking this stuff until all vestiges of HPV is eradicated from this body, and certainly longer. And if the warts come back...well...they better watch out. I have Pero and I'm not afraid to drink it!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What Would YOU Think?

Your brother-in-law calls the credit union at which your mom works. He puts in a request to close the account and send all money in it to him. Later he calls and your mom answers and he asks when he can get his money. She tells him that it likely got mailed soon after his initial call, and can she talk to her daughter--and he hangs up on her.

Mind you, this is the brother-in-law who is very emotionally abusive to your sister's kids--well, except for the one he sired--and has said he would leave her and her boys and take his boy.

Your mom thinks it's rather strange, and calls you. You concur about the strangeness and decide to call your sister. There's no answer. You call her home. Busy signal. You call your brother-in-law and when he answers you ask if you can talk to your sis--he hangs up.

Further attempts at calling meet no response.

You send a text message asking what's going on...no response. You text your brother-in-law who responds with extremely abusive, aggressive replies. You text your sister, instructing her to call so everyone knows she's alright. You receive no response from your sister and further abusive text messages from your brother-in-law, who, by the way, responds to your threat to call the cops with, "call them." Finally who you're expected to believe is your sister responds...with a text message...that says, "I'm fine."

Did you over-react by calling the cops? Did you over-react by texting your sister to "prove it: call Mom"?

This is why I've lived a sheltered life. So I can fully more appreciate the drama I've married into.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Because We're All So Blind

I must be missing something. What is the real reason the Texas government needs DNA samples from all the kids they kidnapped? Aside from only one other weak reason, I can think that it's only because they need more leverage against that community's First Amendment rights.

I mean, really. If a child is pregnant or has been sexually assaulted, you do like you did in the past: go after the perpetrators--the leaders, the "husbands". No need for DNA in that case...unless it's the DNA of the babies to find who sexually assaulted the child carrying or bearing the baby. But to take DNA samples of the children who have been assaulted...what does that give? Only one thing: evidence against those practicing their religion. You find out whose kid is whose, prove that a father sired more than one child with more than one woman. Prove that the man and women considered themselves married and, Bingo! Someone who broke the law--the unconstitutional law. (You know, because it's illegal to be married to more than one woman, but it's perfectly fine to screw around otherwise.)

Again the disclaimer: because I write these posts does not mean I condone what the FLDS idiots do. It means I can see where those who want only to live their religion and keep every other actually constitutional law are in dire danger of being illegally attacked based on current events' precedents.

And now a word to those whose First Amendment rights have been infringed upon: if you want to marry someone, don't marry a child, you morons! Especially if you want to be left alone to practice your religion. But now it's too late. Idiots.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I'm a Bigot, You're a Bigot (Part I)

You know...I hear that there's a Mexican family out in West Valley, UT that beats their children nightly and puts them in cages. We need to lock down that city and seize all Mexican kids for their own protection!

Hmm...no sirens.

It's a proven fact that there's a Laotian family out in Taylorsville that has a daughter that was beaten to death. Clearly we must rush in there and put all Laotian children under protective custody, no matter who they may be!

...no vans.

Well, geez. It's a proven fact that the Catholic Church has allowed many, many of the clergy to sexually abuse children. The only possible response is to seize all children from that church and from the homes of the people that so callously allowed it to happen!

...still no sirens. No arbitrary mass kidnapping. No illegal search and seizure. Strange.

...and yet it's alright to do in Texas...?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

It Is the Handoff That Binds Us

Parked in the drive-through space at a fast food restaurant, I was listening to the radio, waiting for the poor slob who worked there to take my plastic for payment. The radio spewed its NPR drivel, something about Iraq or the economy or the Democratic race, and I listened intently. Of course I occasionally shook my head or made a snide remark about the content, once again (or still) disdaining much of the human race as a whole.

I caught some motion from the left side of the car. The anonymous high school student--clearly working the fast food drive up window because hey, it pays the bills--reached out to accept my plastic money. I brought the card to his hand, and he smoothly accepted it, processed it and handed it back to me. I'm sure he didn't notice my reaction at the initial hand-off. I was stunned. Suddenly, I liked this kid! I realized how close he and I were for those two tiny moments it took to pass the card from hand to hand. We were momentarily symbiotes.

Consider if you will the abject intricacy, beauty and elegance that is the human body. Think about the fact that just to pick up a card, more than 100 muscles are at work, and to do anything more complex with that card takes at least 50 more. 150 muscles working in perfect harmony to move my hand with the credit card in it to the window. Millions and millions of synapses firing in exquisite precision and timing to energize and enervate exactly the correct muscles at precisely the right time.

As if that wasn't enough, I was also acutely aware that the nearly countless things that my body had to do, the kid behind the open windows had to do, too. Nerves firing, muscles flexing and relaxing; a perfect, beautiful harmony of motion and energy and timing. His fingers grasped the card at precisely the same moment that my fingers released it. For that one moment, the awe-inspiring number of things going on as we both moved merged into a veritable symphony of synergistic will and coordination.

I smiled at him as he handed me my food, but he was already talking to his headset, taking the next order and closing the window, preparing for the next order.

I drove off, a little less judgmental about...well about everything. I realized that that tiny moment happens every single day. Any and all kinds of interaction we have with each other is a perfect example of symbiosis, of oneness...even in our attempts to destroy each other.

It became clear to me...again...and in a different way...we are all connected. Not just we humans, but everything. We all make up one massive, symbiotic being, moving harmoniously toward a common goal (utter annihilation or peace--we'll decide as we go), hurtling through space toward who-knows-what. Perhaps a thousand years of peace?

Friday, February 29, 2008

Give a Dad a Trance!

I followed the nurse into the nursery to watch as she took my new baby's vitals. Ever vigilant to the comings and goings of people around me, I broke my gaze from the baby and watched a nurse wheeling a new baby into the nursery, the baby's dad following closely. The nurse walked away to fill out some paperwork and the new father stood close by the bassinet, staring down at the mewling man cub. His demeanor was a study. He stood with hands half-in and half-out of the bassinet as though not quite sure what to do with them. He was grinning a half grin and his eyes had a far away look to them as he took in the entirety of a massive beauty in a tiny bundle of new life.

I thought, "Man, that guy looks a bit goofy." And yet I couldn't help but feel a strange kinship with him. Then I took my hands out of my pockets...and put them back in as I turned back to gaze at my new baby. I was only vaguely aware of a goofy grin and a slight discomfort at not knowing quite what to do as I stared down at a tiny bundle of wondrous life and energy.

Another connection to a perfect stranger. Not the baby...the other dad in a state of wonder and nearly drooling from awe.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Why Appearances Don't Matter

So I spend an extra few minutes in the restroom, making sure my face is free of debris and my nose is free of...debris. You see, I was planning on going to the System's Architect to ask a question, and I wanted the focus to be on what I was saying, not on what about my face was distracting him. Satisfied, I went to the SA, asked my question, got the answer, and just couldn't figure out why he was grinning.

On my way back to my cubicle, I sensed something was definitely not right. Sure enough, the fly was undone. It must have been the breeze. Whatever it was, it became crystal clear that appearances--no matter how important they are to others--are completely the wrong focus; I'm clearly always going to have something distracting going on. Boog--uh...nose detritus, zits, dried skin, cowlicks, impressive gut, undone zippers.... And people wonder why my preferred method of communication is electronic.

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Winds of Change Blow

Everyone wants change. Everyone fears change, but everyone wants change. Change is good. The desire for change is good. But when everyone wants change and no one has any idea what kind of change they want, everyone has proven themselves foolish.

Calling for change without thinking about what change you're talking about; calling for change without thought regarding what change the current path will bring about is a warm, moist breeze through a foul bog. It's worthless and it stinks.

Calling for change is the lazy man's way of showing discomfort with how things are. It's wishes on the wind. It's diseased, meaningless nonsense wafting from fool to fool, a contagious madness infecting those who can't seem to focus on exactly what changes they want.

Fine. Be discontent. But don't sit on your thumbs complaining. Have something in mind. Work for a goal. If the goal creates change, then mission accomplished. But wanting change for change's sake without knowing what you're after is just dumb.

Politicians and their sheep should stop talking about change and start talking about goals. Everyone calls for change. Everyone wants change. It's the easy thing to talk about. But hey, easy is the American way. Or at least it should be, if the government would get off their butts and start doing everything for us. Almost there. Almost there.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Strike, Strike, Strike!

I have no pity for anyone in the entertainment industry. They all "earn" entirely too much money. That being said, the writers are right. They should get a piece of the ridiculously large pie of the sale of their stuff, no matter the medium--internet, theater, DVD, whatever. That being said, I hope the strike continues. Don't get me wrong, I love my shows. House. 24. Bones. The Unit. Etc. Rest in peace, because since the strike, I and my family have watched less TV than...well...ever, and everything seems to be getting better at home. Kids are getting more interested in coloring, games (not even video games!), and all other things not-TV. I'm getting more work done. It's beautiful.

Eventually, studios will be losing money because there will be nothing for people to watch. How nice would it be that the ridiculously obscene amounts of money made by entertainment media that encourage vegetative states be spent on...say...sports gear? Would that be so bad?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Expect the Unexpected

Until you have established rules of behavior, expecting someone to behave a certain way is foolishness. Indeed, it's its own perfect example of a little tyranny.

There's a reason people train in protocol. It establishes a set of rules of behavior that everyone can agree upon in order to accomplish a particular goal. Once this is done, those who break protocol can quite accurately anticipate a negative reaction from those with whom they've set protocol. If no protocol is set, there is no reason to be annoyed, offended, etc.

The placing of expectations on others is foolish. It is establishing protocol that people don't know about. It is unfair.

When you get offended because someone didn't do as your expectations dictate, take a deep breath and say, "Well, that was unexpected," and then deal with it!

People are going to disappoint you. They are going to do what you don't expect them to do. Inevitably they will do what you think is inappropriate, especially when they're unaware of your individual expectations. (And just so you know, even when they are aware of your individual expectations, can you really expect them to keep track of your very own, pet protocols? Likely, you're not the only individual in their life.)

I've recently heard a saying that, while unfortunate, rings very true. The gist was when people do something, it's not about you, it's about them. It is therefore extremely unlikely that whatever they did was calculated to offend. It's far more likely they did it because they thought it was the right thing to do at the time. So chill out. Stop falling into that same trap and understand one thing: if you expect others to consider you, consider them, even when they don't consider you.

The Golden Rule is not "Be offended when people do unto you as you don't expect others to." It's just a bit more selfless.

Expect others to act unexpectedly. Adapt. Accept. Enjoy. Repeat as necessary.